Meet Bob, the Train-Loving Dog Who Rode Thousands of Miles Across Australia
Meet Bob, the Train-Loving Dog Who Rode Thousands of Miles Across Australia
Discover the heartwarming story of Bob, the lovable pup who captured the hearts of railway workers in South Australia in the late 19th century. From riding the trains solo to his mischievous antics, Bob's tale of love, friendship, and adventure will melt your heart!

Bob - a train-loving dog

If your heart beats in rhythm with the train wheels and craves freedom, then it doesn't matter that you are just an ordinary backyard dog.

This curly stray sweetheart left his mark on the history of South Australia and left paw prints on the rails of its railways. Bob's story is a tale of love, friendship, and adventure, as he became an integral part of the country's railway in the late 19th century.

Bob was born in 1883 in Macksville, South Australia. From a very young age, this fluffy brown and white mixed breed pup was in love with the railways.

Even as a young pup, Bob often wandered away from home, following the railway tracks to watch the workers laying the lines. Several times the little one had to be returned to his owner. But one day, when he was nine months old, Bob ran away.

He found himself 60 kilometers from Adelaide, where he was caught by dog catchers, loaded onto a truck with 50 other companions, and sent north as part of a program to combat rabbits. When the train stopped in Tarroo, a guard named William Ferry practically fell in love with Bob and took him to the bustling railway town of Petersburg (now Peterborough).

Ferry taught Bob various commands and tricks. The four-legged friend helped him keep watch. Quite often, Bob rode the train with his owner. Then Ferry was promoted to assistant station master in Peterborough. But Bob continued to ride trains alone, getting on and off where he pleased.

It is known that Bob traveled thousands of kilometers. Representatives of the close-knit railway community took a liking to the shaggy traveler, so engineers had no trouble taking him along to feed and spend the night. In the morning, the dog would return to the station and choose a new route.

According to the "Petersburg Times" newspaper, Bob's favorite spot was the "Yankee" locomotive: the loud whistle and billowing smoke seemed to hold a hypnotic allure for the dog.

Bob didn't like suburban trains because of the cramped cabins. But the crafty dog learned to liberate a third-class compartment for his exclusive use, simply by scaring off passengers with loud barking.

The active pup attended the Melbourne Exhibition in 1881 at the opening of the railway line between Petersburg and Broken Hill as an honorary guest.

After spending a happy 12 years on the railways of Australia, Bob quietly passed away from old age in 1895. Shortly after his death, a poetic dedication was published in the newspaper by his railway comrades.

Bob wore a special collar made for him by railway workers. There was a plate on the leather collar that read: "Don't stop me, let me take a walk, because I'm Bob - the dog of the engine drivers." His collar is displayed at the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide along with photographs and other memorabilia.

In 2009, a life-size statue of Bob was erected on the main street of Peterborough. And the shaggy traveler with a free heart continues to watch the trains - the love of his life - even decades later.



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